ED raids foreign-registered on-line gaming portals; says Rs 4,000 cr funds despatched overseas illegally

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday mentioned it has detected unlawful international remittances of about Rs 4,000 crore after it carried out multi-state raids towards foreign-registered on-line gaming web sites and corporations working within the nation in alleged violation of the international trade legislation.

“Rs 19.55 lakh and more than (US)$22,600 in cash were seized apart from freezing 55 bank accounts during this operation carried out under the provisions of the FEMA. The searches were carried out on May 22-23 at 25 premises in Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh,” an ED spokesperson mentioned.

According to the ED, the raids led to the discovering that these on-line gaming firms and web sites have been registered in small island nations like Curacao, Malta and Cyprus. However, all of them are linked to Indian financial institution accounts opened within the identify of proxy individuals who haven’t any hyperlink with on-line gaming exercise. “The amount collected from the general public through gaming websites is then routed through multiple bank accounts and finally remitted out of India by mis-declaring the purpose of remittances against import of services and goods,” the spokesperson mentioned.

The ED mentioned it discovered that a whole lot of firms have been opened by the important thing individuals within the identify of their workers for layering and sending remittances to the tune of about Rs 4,000 crore within the guise of funds for import of products and providers. “Several PAN (permanent account number) cards, Aadhaar cards used for creating such firms, mobiles used for operating bank accounts of these firms and office stamps have been seized,” the spokesperson mentioned.

“Some key persons were found using international virtual mobile numbers for instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal etc. and using pseudo-names such as Pablo, John, Watson etc. for “masking” their precise id. To escape from investigating businesses, they’re utilizing remote-based server/laptops that are getting used by means of remote-access apps like Anydesk, Team viewer and so forth,” the ED mentioned.

The company seized two such remotely accessed laptops from the premises of an entity offering server providers situated far-off from the precise operational locations.

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